Summary: The Crucifixion from Simon, the Cyrene’s, view.
Luke 23:26 -- “And as they led him away, they laid hold upon one Simon, a Cyrenian, coming out of the country, and on him they laid the cross, that he might bear it after Jesus.”
l. THE FRIDAY SCENE
• The Date. . . . . Friday, April 11, 32 A. D.
• The Time. . . . . . Between nine and ten in the morning.
• The Place. . . . . . .The city gate of Jerusalem.
• The Setting. . . . . . A large crowd of people, some there in sympathy, some there in hate.
-It is a disorderly crowd, some are gloating and shouting while others are weeping and wailing.
-In those days of Roman rule, when a criminal was to be crucified, he was taken from the judgement hall and set in the middle of a square of Roman soldiers. His cross was laid across his shoulders.
-Then he was forced to march by the longest possible route, while before him a soldier marched with a placard which had the crime inscribed upon it. Not only did this serve as a notice, it served as a warning to those who might be involved in such a crime.
-He stood trial in front of Pilate. No evidence of His wrongdoing was found. There was nothing wrong with Him. Pilate stood back and could not find any fault anywhere. Nothing marring His character. Nothing concerning His ethics. No dishonesty. . . nothing. But that crowd down there, what did they want him to do?
-Pilate in his misguided plan, decided to shift the responsibility and let them make the decision. He gave them a choice, Barabas or the Christ? He was incredibly awed and yet stricken with the horror of their choice. . . . . . . . . . . . . They wanted Barabas.
-Amid the rabble of voices is a suffering Savior. He drags His limbs along in an almost fainting condition. Streaks and patches of blood show through His clothes where His skin has been torn and lacerated by the whips of the soldiers. There is a trail of blood on the ground.
-There are bleeding cuts on His face. The crown of thorns has buried itself into the tender forehead. His face is bruised, swollen, and discolored. He has endured the blows of the soldiers fists.
-It seems so much for Him to even stand, much less to have to carry the wooden cross. He halts, He sways, He stumbles under the load of the cross. He is about to fall but a rough hand steadies Him and He limps on a little further.
-He takes another pace or two and almost stumbles again. Then one more staggering step and He sinks under the wooden beam of the cross. The soldiers are getting impatient so they reach out and take a man at random, or so one might think. . . . from the crowd.
A. Simon, The Cyrene
-What an incredible commentary it is that the Salvation of the world must have another to bear His cross.
-The Cross that became Simon’s on that day was:
• A Compulsory Cross -- He had no choice to bear it. No life is without a cross, you must bear it.
• An Unexpected Cross -- He was on the way to worship at the Passover and suddenly the cross came to him without any warning nor any planning.
• An Honorable Cross -- The Value of the Cross depends on the spirit in which we take it up.
-So the Lord, near the point of total exhaustion gives up the Cross. The last few hours of the Lord’s life:
• Found Him in the agony of the Garden.
• Found Him facing a kangaroo court and rough handling by Caiaphas.
• Found Him in facing Pilate in the pre-dawn hours.
• Found Him at the brutual scourging.
• Found Him totally without food or drink.
-But the soldiers did not care that Simon was the one compelled to bear the cross. Here was a man who had saved his money the whole year to make it to the Passover in Jerusalem.
-He was perhaps fulfilling a lifetime dream of traveling in the neighborhood of 800 miles to worship. Almost before he knew it, a heavy hand slaps his shoulder, and his is commanded to carry the Cross.
• What is it that Simon felt on that morning?
• What were his reactions to the Cross?
-The sickening revulsion of having to carry the Cross. He is unwilling to carry it, for Matthew and Mark both say that he was “compelled” to carry the Cross.
-He struggles to get away from it, but Luke informs us that the soldiers “laid hold” of him to prevent his escape. Simon feels the humiliation of having to carry the Cross of the Criminal. His face burns hot with embarrassment. He feels sick when he catches a glimpse of the blood on the Cross.